Bookmark and Share




                In her May 9, 2015 speech at Tuskegee University, First Lady Michelle Obama stated, “So for me, being Mom-in-Chief is, and always will be, job number one…”   Given her July 28, 2016 speech at the Democratic National Convention (DNC), perhaps we should also enstool her as Queen Mother –a title in the traditional African experience for women who are as powerful if not more powerful than the Chief.   

The initial DNC dynamics constituted a virtual tinder box that was on the verge of being ignited.  Mishandling one or more of the following could have led to an all-consuming fire:  [1] WikiLeaks’ release of the DNC’s damaging emails; [2] the termination of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the immediate appointment of Donna Brazile; [3] angry Bernie Sanders supporters who might raise havoc on the convention floor; [4] not knowing what Bernie Sanders might or might not do; and [5] the need for the DNC to place in bold relief the Republican National Convention’s (RNC) shortcomings. 

Appropriately dressed in blue which often symbolizes “the celestial love of truth” as well as “trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, and faith,” Queen Mother Michelle Obama regally entered the above DNC maelstrom to address the thousands in attendance and the millions watching live broadcasts.  From start to finish, she rocked!

In addition to being well-prepared by her undergraduate education at Princeton and legal training at Harvard, Queen Mother Obama was steeped in the African American tradition sometimes referenced as the “magical power of the spoken word,” that ability to use the spoken word to significantly move an individual’s mind, body and spirit; to galvanize a group; to transform situations in ways that stumbling blocks become stepping stones, and lemons are used to make lemonade.

Queen Mother Obama’s speech left everyone except irrational critics grasping for descriptive superlatives.  One nationally distinguished, former CEO of a national organization, African American woman said of the Queen Mother’s ethos, “I cannot say enough about the intelligence, grace, and nuanced direct truthfulness of this woman.”  Throughout her speech, she exuded that which has kept her national approval ratings well above 65%.

 “Old Saints” from the traditional African American church instantly recognized how Queen Mother Obama invoked the nation’s spirit by “testifying” about her personal truths as they related to the greatness of our nation.  Her “personal testimony” was so powerful that many auditors spontaneously cried slow, warm, emotional tears when she said, “…That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves…”

Queen Mother Obama’s rhetorical skills were at full throttle when she used her and her husband’s child rearing practices to simultaneously advance positive values and render a blistering critique of a political figure who went unnamed, e.g., “…That is what Barack and I think about every day as we try to guide and protect our girls through the challenges of this unusual life in the spotlight -- how we urge them to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith.  How we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country.  How we explain that when someone is cruel, or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level -– no, our motto is, when they go low, we go high…”  

We witnessed the rhetorical heights to which the Queen Mother could go, in a respectful but “dissing” fashion, when she said, “…And when I think about the kind of President that I want for my girls and all our children …I want someone with the proven strength to persevere. Someone who knows this job and takes it seriously. Someone who understands that the issues a President faces are not black and white and cannot be boiled down to 140 characters. Because when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can’t make snap decisions. You can’t have a thin skin or a tendency to lash out. You need to be steady, and measured, and well-informed…  With that and more, she literally “dropped the mic.”

  A day later, a commentator indicated she still felt the chill in her spine when Queen Mother Obama said “…I will never forget that winter morning as I watched our girls, just seven and ten years old, pile into those black SUVs with all those big men with guns…  And I saw their little faces pressed up against the window…”  Some mesmerized reporters described the speech as “stunning, stirring, perfectly pitched, rousing, most memorable, sublime, and eloquent.”  Still others declared it to be the greatest speech ever given by a First Lady at a national convention, “one for the ages.” 

A reluctant witness, Republican strategist Rick Wilson wrote, “Monday night, the first lady reminded this Republican that a passionate speech with heart, poetry and grace is still one of the most powerful and effective tools in the political toolbox…  Even if you’re not a Michelle Obama fan, it was authentically her voice, beautifully crafted and strategically on point…” (USA Today, July 28, 2016).

Of course, in this era of belligerent and often ill-informed obstructionism, there were lame attempts to criticize Queen Mother Obama’s speech.  Notably, Bill O’Reilly engaged in a bit of farcical “fact checking.”  Regarding the Queen Mother’s statement, “…I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves…,” O’Reilly (with no shame) stated that the slaves who helped build the White House were “well-fed and had decent lodging.”  Of course, O’Reilly would never volunteer to be a “well fed and housed” slave as opposed to a well-paid, partisan commentator. 

With so much at stake in the coming November elections, we cannot permit biased naysayers to detract from the immediate, profound, and historical importance of what Queen Mother Obama accomplished with her DNC speech.  She was like the first leg of a 4 X 400 relay runner who opened such a prohibitive lead that it was near impossible for the race to be lost after the baton was passed to other DNC speakers and, finally, the anchor Hillary Clinton.  On day one, the Queen Mother enabled the unification of the political party that nominated the first women to be President of the United States and, in doing so, might well have saved the nation from the totalitarian regime that would be ushered in by her opponent in November. 

The immediate political moment is of such great significance that we must do as Queen Mother

Obama advised, i.e., “…in this election, we cannot sit back and hope that everything works out for the best.  We cannot afford to be tired, or frustrated, or cynical. No, hear me -- between now and November, we need to do what we did eight years ago and four years ago: We need to knock on every door. We need to get out every vote. We need to pour every last ounce of our passion and our strength and our love for this country…”  

                All praises to the First Lady, Mom-in-Chief, and Queen Mother Obama!  If she should ever decide to run for political office, then many of us are “fired up and ready to go!”  In the interim, we must all play our parts in breaking the final glass ceiling of actually electing Hillary Clinton as President, not just the Democrats’ nominee. 


Jack L. Daniel

Co-Founder, Freed Panther Society

Pittsburgh Urban Media Contributor


August 8, 2016  

Other PUM Stories
Panthers reach sales agreement with David Tepper
Panthers reach sales agreement with David Tepper The...

Read More »

Neighborhood Allies Outlines it's Priority Geographies
Neighborhood Allies Priority Geographies Neighborhood Allies is a...

Read More »

ACLU-PA Files Suit to Block State’s “Silencing Act”
ACLU-PA Files Suit to Block State’s “Silencing Act”...

Read More »

Turnovers kill bid for 7th title -PACKERS 31, STEELERS 25
  Turnovers kill bid for 7th title - PACKERS 31, STEELERS 25...

Read More »


Pittsburgh Urban Media